Category Archives: Bigotry

Drew Brees Agonistes

I wrote about Drew Brees and his unfortunate relationship with Focus on the Family in my new not-so secret identity as the Bayou Brief’s 13th Ward Rambler, I should give credit where it’s due to Jenn Bentley of Big Easy Magazine for breaking the story, which, in turn, raised a ruckus on social media. I have a reading assignment for my readers: watch the video, read my piece, then Ms. Bentley’s before proceeding.

Welcome back.

The Saints QB responded yesterday in an awkward not terribly straightforward way, which made matters worse with the folks who were angry and/or disappointed with him. He provided an answer to the question I posed at the Bayou Brief: Wingnut or Conservative. Unfortunately, it’s the former but he’s still a great QB.

My friend Picvocate/Advoyune columnist Stephanie Grace wrote about Drew’s weaselly response so I don’t have to:

After several day of controversy, Brees responded that he knew nothing of the group’s anti-gay activities or “any type of hate-type related stuff.”

“I was not aware of that at all,” he said. He also insisted that the video was not meant to promote any group, and certainly not any group “that is associated with that type of behavior.”

“To me, that is totally against what being a Christian is all about,” Brees said.

Maybe he should have just stopped there, instead of adding that it’s a shame that people are using the controversy to “make headlines” and get clicks. Brees really has nobody to blame for that but himself.

Yeah you right, Stephanie.

Liberal Saints fans seem to be divided into two camps. Those who didn’t already know about his politics are up in arms about the whole mess. Others, like me, are well-aware that Brees is a right-winger. His association with the Focus on the Family fucks dates back at least to 2015 and perhaps even farther. I’m inclined to view this flap as part of what might call the Brees bucket, which contains both The Bad and the Beautiful as the title of one of my favorite movies goes.

One thing we’ve learned about Drew Brees this week: He’s a genius on the gridiron, not off field. Nobody should be surprised by this: the NFL is full of wingnutty white boys. Drew Brees is just one of many.

This episode is simultaneously saddening and maddening. The New Orleans Saints have long been a unifying force in our community. When owner Tom Benson threatened to move the team to his other hometown of San Antonio post-K, the community arose in such righteous indignation that they remained here. Saints fandom was an integral part of what I’ve previously referred to as The Spirit Of ’05.

Drew Brees’ first year with the Saints was 2006 and the team went to its first NFC Championship game. Then they won the Super Bowl after the 2009 season. This season there are high hopes, which, hopefully, will not be dashed on the rocks of controversy.

This mishigas is a vivid reminder of the perils of athletes dabbling in politics, particularly in the Trump era. If you take a stand, someone in your fan base will be offended. That’s especially true in New Orleans, which is a very blue city whereas the Gret Stet of Louisiana is ruby red.

Repeat after me: I’m disappointed by his wingnuttery but not surprised.

The last word goes to one of my favorite writers, the 13th Ward Rambler:

Does this alter my Saints fandom? Hell, no. Football is full of right-wing white boys and I’ve known for years that Drew Brees is one of them. Besides, his views on the Kaepernick kneeling contretemps were more nuanced than expected; he even criticized  President* Trump. That’s why I have no plan to renounce my Saints fandom or return my tickets for the season opener.

I simply want to know if our QB is a wingnut or a conservative.

The answer is, alas, wingnut. As Stephanie put it, Drew Brees should have known better.

To Argue My Faith

This asshole:

Of course it’s just regular old white bigotry, and nothing to do with Christianity at all, but what interests me immensely is this woman’s all-too-common misconception that having “faith” in something means you’re above reproach, you don’t have to back your shit up, you you get to say or do whatever you want and nobody can criticize you.

“I don’t want to argue my faith,” she says, when asked how her faith dictates this stance that mixed-race marriages can’t be performed in her banquet hall.

Oh, honey, does Yahweh have some bad news for you. Nowhere in the Bible, even at its cruelest, does God proffer Himself as some kind of Ultimate Win, a card you can pull out to avoid having to do what everybody in a society has to do which is to live together. In fact, the Old Testament God to which these people often ascribe their beliefs does pretty much nothing but argue, constantly, with everybody He wants to do His stuff.

Literally half the damn Bible is God just screwing with everybody, I honestly don’t understand how people come to this conclusion that He doesn’t like conflict.

You don’t get to be an idiot and call it faith. You don’t get to take a position contrary to the law of the land and call it faith. You don’t get to be unable to cite chapter, much less verse, to justify your attitude and call it faith. It’s insulting to those who don’t believe, of course: We are not a theocracy, not yet, and your faith cannot stand above anyone else’s.

But it’s also insulting to those WITH that Christian faith, faith they work for, study, practice, struggle with, try to understand. It’s insulting to them to say that their faith is something this cheap, this easy. It’s insulting to say to people who work every day to model Christ in an unkind violent bullshit world that you don’t have to ARGUE.

I can’t speak for this tight-permed Trump voter up there, but my faith? My faith is very, very deeply about argument. My faith is at times looking upward and saying Heavenly Father, You are being such a Jackass right now, what on Your earth are you thinking. My faith is cantankerous and oppositional and mostly about work, about what can I do to help, how can I fix this, how can we change this together. The idea of faith being something you don’t have to fight for is anathema.

You don’t want to argue your faith? What on earth is your life, then, if not an argument? What are you doing here? Besides racism, I mean.

A.

Wicked & Cruel

Keeping up with the Trump Regime’s scandals and misdeeds is exhausting. Another shoe or empty umbrella drops every day. The Insult Comedian is not an ideologue, unless self-love counts, but the administration is honeycombed with Teabaggers bound and determined to dismantle the regulatory state. They should be bound and gagged instead, but it’s unclear if there’s enough rope and duct tape to get the job done. We’re swimming in a sea of malakatude, y’all.

The worst thing done by Team Trump recently is the repellent and inhumane effort to run sick immigrant children and their parents out of the country. Kindly Doc Maddow has been all over this story and the NYT chimed in yesterday with a story about Maria Bueso who is suffering from a rare genetic disease:

Now 24, Ms. Bueso, who had been told she likely would not live past adolescence, has participated in several medical studies. She has won awards for her advocacy on behalf of people with rare diseases, appearing before lawmakers in Washington and in Sacramento. Over the years, her parents have paid for the treatment that keeps her alive with private medical insurance.

But last week, Ms. Bueso received a letter from the United States government that told her she would face deportation if she did not leave the country within 33 days, an order described by her doctor, lawyer and mother as tantamount to a “death sentence.”

This moves beyond cruelty into the realm of sadism. In this case, Maria Bueso and her family are assets to the community and are paying their own way. This makes no sense in a rational and humane world but perfect sense in the twisted world view of President* Pennywise and his barbaric henchman Steven Miller. Their goal is to deter immigration both legal and illegal. That gives them the power of life and death over people such as Maria Bueso. How can anyone be so wicked and cruel?

Making matters worse, Team Trump has once again formulated a policy without an action plan. The White House has dumped this responsibility on DHS but it’s unclear who’s in charge, which reminds me of this line by late Gret Stet Senator Russel Long:

Maria Bueso is not the only victim of the Trump Regime’s eerie combination of incompetence and cruelty but her case is perhaps the most dramatic. She will die if she is cut off from her current treatment. What’s next? A Eugenics revival? This is the path that the Trump-Miller junta is leading us down. It’s government by malice and impulse. How can anyone be so wicked and cruel?

The wicked and cruel refrain and post title is inspired by a Difford and Tlbrook song. Squeeze gets the last word:

Political Performance Art

The Insult Comedian has been giving his big fat bazoo quite a workout. It’s all smoke and mirrors: an attempt to obscure his latest cave to the NRA on gun control, a drooping economy, and dire re-election prospects. I halfway expect him to open carry a long gun to reassure the gun nutterazzi that he’s still with them.

The Kaiser Of Chaos has thrown three stacks of raw meat to divert attention from his failures and to throw the hounds of the MSM off the scent. (They’re all bark and no bite despite being called “fake news” by Trump.) Two diversions are funny, the other loathsome. It’s quite literally the cherry on his hissy fit shit sundae.

DIVERSION-1: Trump has engaged in a word of words with Denmark of all countries over Greenland of all islands. Who the hell feuds with Denmark? The Danes are great. Perhaps Trump is confusing the people with the dog breed. We know he hates dogs. Who the hell hates dogs?

Initially, I thought the “I wanna buy Greenland” story was either a hoax or a prank.  It turned out to be neither. Trump took to twitter to blast the Danish government and cancel a trip there. I expected him to call it the land of porn and cookies but he pulled his punches. Those cookies are like butter, I tell ya.

The good people at the New York Daily News came up with a banner headline for the ages:

Is anyone surprised that I love that Ford/Fjord pun? The only thing I don’t like it about it is that I didn’t think of it first.

The best thing I saw on social media came from my pal Kat of Sky Dancing fame:

 

Thanks for giving me a swell post title, Kat.

DIVERSION-2: Trump has also been feuding with the Mooch. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mooch started the “feud” to augment Trump’s own personal smoke machine. I don’t think the Mooch has done a sincere thing in his life. Why start now?

I’m not buying this unctuous creep’s reformed sinner shtick. The only thing I like about it is that it gives me a pretext to post this soundie:

What’s a Trump diversion without some bigotry in the mix?

DIVERSION-3: Trump’s despicable comments about American Jews have caused a tremendous amount of agita and anger:

“Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel? And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, alright?”

If President* Pennywise ever read anything, I’d swear this was straight out of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That bigoted tract was, of course, the product of Tsarist Russian intelligence and we know how Trump loves Russian spooks.

The reaction has been swift and furious. The Insult Comedian trotted out a sycophant on the tweeter tube to rebut the critics:

So, he’s the messiah now? Oy just oy.

I had to google this Wayne Allyn Root bozo to learn that he’s a wingnut radio shouter and writer. I feel unclean after typing his name. Ugh.

Only Trumpberius would divert attention from his failures by making racist comments. Note to the MSM: this is not normal, stop covering him as if he were a normal person, not a deranged bigot. In the immortal words of Hank Hill:

That’s a book Trumpy might be able to read. It’s got lots of pictures. Besides, Hank’s neighbor  Dale (Bug Man) Gribble is bound to be a Trumper albeit a fictional one.

I think the Insult Comedian should stick to fat shaming his supporters instead of calling the majority of an ethno-religious group traitors. It may thrill his shrinking base, but it appalls the rest of the world. Of course, it’s just political performance art at its most artless.

Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

President* Pennywise

Image by Michael F.

We recently watched the 2017 movie IT, which is based on the Stephen King novel. I wasn’t terribly familiar with that terrible tale except for the sinister clown Pennywise. I loved the movie and realized that it was remade for two possible reasons: the popularity of Stranger Things and the rise of Trumpism.

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I don’t see Trump as a figure of fun even though he’s funny. What he’s doing to the country is not funny but he cuts a ridiculous figure as he wreaks havoc. At the risk of sounding like a Reader’s Digest feature, laughter is the best medicine against Trumpism. Their dear leader has no sense of humor unless the joke is on his enemies. That’s why one should laugh at him, not cower, especially when the laughter is provoked by his latest outrageous statement. Remember the Maddow Doctrine:

Words to live by.

I seem to have missed the Insult Comedian’s exchange with California Governor Gavin Newsome during the 2018 campaign. Trump called Newsome a clown, here’s his tweeted response:

SNAP.

Courage is what the resistance to Trumpism requires. I know that many are still traumatized by the 2016 election BUT remember that Democrats won the mid-term popular vote by 9 points. And Trump is running on the same issues that flopped in that campaign.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Trump’s only path to electoral college victory is to destroy his opponent and resort to massive electoral fraud. He will not win the popular vote and has a narrow path to winning the electoral college, particularly with the economy circling the bowl. He’ll try and blame the Fed or Democrats but the voters blame the Current Occupant for economic woes. It couldn’t happen to a “nicer” guy.

Trump’s opponents need to take a deep breath and keep fighting. Remember: this guy and his cretinous followers thrive on your fear just like Pennywise. It’s up to us to look at the big picture and not be pennywise and pound foolish. Laugh at him, mock him, but don’t let him spook you. Victory belongs to the brave at heart. President* Pennywise can fuck off back to Trump Tower in 2021.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello and the Attractions:

 

Quote Of The Day: Farage Barrage Edition

I couldn’t resist reviving my post-Brexit vote meme before moving on to slap Nigel Farage about. On with the show, this is it.

Farage paid a visit to Sydney, Australia and trashed the royals to a group of Ozzie wingnuts

The Brexit party leader was laudatory about the Queen – “an amazing, awe-inspiring woman, we’re bloody lucky to have her” – but abused her son, grandson and mother.

“When it comes to her son, when it comes to Charlie Boy and climate change, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Her mother, Her Royal Highness the Queen’s mother was a slightly overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker who lived to 101 years old. All I can say is Charlie Boy is now in his 70s … may the Queen live a very, very long time.”

I remember when British right-wingers were royalists. Additionally, the Queen Mum has been dead for seventeen years so one would think the Insult Comedian UK would let her rest in peace. Shorter Adrastos: Stay mum about the dead Queen Mum.

Farage also indulged in a bit of sexism and racism by going after Meghan Markle and her prince:

“Terrifying! Here was Harry, here he was this young, brave, boisterous, all male, getting into trouble, turning up at stag parties inappropriately dressed, drinking too much and causing all sorts of mayhem. And then, a brave British officer who did his bit in Afghanistan. He was the most popular royal of a younger generation that we’ve seen for 100 years.

“And then he met Meghan Markle, and it’s fallen off a cliff. We’ve been told in the last week that Meghan and Harry will only have two children … and we’re all completely ignoring, the real problem the Earth faces, and that is the fact the population of the globe is exploding but no one dares talk about it, no one dares deal with it, and whether Prince Harry has two kids is irrelevant given there are now 2.6 billion Chinese and Indians on this Earth.”

Remember the good old days when Harry did shit like this?

According to the Farage barrage, Harry’s soul has been hijacked by his harridan wife who has succeeded in “pussy whipping” him. And making matters worse to the bigoted Farage, she’s a woman of color and an actress to boot. Scary, scary, scary. The only trick he missed was using the Empire era slur, WOG. I guess that proves that Nigel doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Now where have I heard that before?

I posted this Farage barrage as a reminder that other country’s politics have also gone to hell in an increasingly overcrowded handbag. And Nigel is only UK clown number two: Boris Johnson is prime minister. Bigotry is as big in Blighty as at the White House. Oy just oy.

As an antidote to Nigel’s awfulness, the last word goes to the Kinks:

 

Trumpism Is Hatriotism

The hatriot-in-chief hugs a flag.

You may have noticed that I love language, nicknames, and slang. I agree with Samuel G. Freedman that it’s high time to revive a venerable word that he stumbled into whilst researching right-wing populist demagogue Gerald LK Smith:

In an episode that anticipated Trump’s recent rhetoric treating representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley as disloyal foreigners and telling them to “go back home” – even though all are American citizens and all but Omar were born here – Smith told a whooping crowd, “If the Jews don’t like our country, they can go back where they came from!”

As I slogged through such muck, I found a 1945 article from the New York Herald Tribune. It recounted Smith and similarly minded demagogues trying to crash a United Nations conference in San Francisco. Describing Smith’s crew, both the headline and the story used the word “hatriots”.

That term, a pithy conflation of “hate” and “patriots”, struck me as perfectly suited to our current moment. Read in the context of Smith’s divisive career, the word clearly referred to people who wrap toxic intolerance in the perfumed cloak of patriotism.

Freedman goes on a hatriotic journey to find the origin of the word and traces it to a 1941 editorial in a small-town Hoosier newspaper. It was fairly common journalistic parlance used to describe figures with Nazistic tendencies until some time in the 1950’s.

Another compound word that came up in Freedman’s piece is Ratzis. It was coined by the voice of The Untouchables, Walter Winchell. Ratzis: I like it so much that I’ll use it in a sentence, Trumper hatriots are Ratzis. That felt good.

I plan to work hatriotism and its hatriotic derivations into my writing as much as possible. Let’s make it a hat trick and use hatriot to describe individuals who worship the Insult Comedian and his invective.

Repeat after me: Hatriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Trumpism is Hatriotism.

What Do You Say, Dean Baquet?

The tweet below is the first thing I saw this morning. It was shared by Picvocate columnist Stephanie Grace and she found the whole thing as baffling as I did:

Here’s the deal: Edwin Edwards was a corrupt pol whose greed brought him down. But his “inflammatory comments” were nothing like those of the Insult Comedian. The one above is self-deprecating: does anyone recall Donald Trump ever mocking himself? That’s because the joke is *always* at the expense of someone he’s out to attack and smear. And he usually kicks down, not up.

One of the harshest things Edwin Edwards ever said about an opponent was in 1983: “Dave Treen is so slow that it takes him an hour and a half to watch Sixty Minutes.”

That’s a far cry from calling people crooked, traitors, and the other stuff that comes out of Trump’s big fat bazoo and pops up on his twitter feed. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

Edwin Edwards was the first Gret Stet Governor to treat black folks as full citizens. They were his electoral base, not red-hatted racists. In fact, Trump is more like the man Edwards defeated in 1991: David Duke.

Perhaps Dean Baquet has been away from Louisiana so long that he “misremembered” the nature of Fast Eddie’s outrageousness. I suggest that he read John Maginnis’ brilliant account of the Edwards-Duke race from hell: Cross To Bear. Hell, Baquet should talk to fellow Gret Stet native and Timesman Charles Blow. He gets it.

Donald Trump is a boorish crooked racist. Edwin Edwards is a charming crook but not a racist.

Dean Baquet should be ashamed of this lame excuse for his paper’s disgusting headline about Trump’s perfunctory white supremacy speech. Baquet can and should do better.

Deadbeat Asshole In El Paso

The Insult Comedian loves being an uninvited guest in places where he’s not wanted. What’s reality teevee without conflict? Boring, that’s what. The people of El Paso will be extras on Trump’s whirlwind “message I care” tour. He does not: he’s all hat and no cattle.

Team Trump has stuck the citizens of El Paso with a bill of over $500K for security costs associated with one of his hate fest rallies a mere six months ago. The president* should have  had the decency to pay up but his entire life is a string of unpaid bills and broken promises. Why should he do the decent thing now? He’s never done it before. He’s all hat and no cattle.

Teleprompter Trump’s muted critique of racism and white supremacy endured almost a whole day but, predictably, Twitter Trump is back in the saddle. The MSM bought into his “moderate” rhetoric because they’re desperate for him to be normal so they can resume covering politics as a horse race. He’s not normal. He’s already back to sowing the seeds of division and grievance like a one-man Festivus:

It’s scary that Donald Trump makes Frank Costanza look like a nice guy.

It’s folly for the MSM to expect the Insult Comedian to be the consoler-in-chief when he’s really the despoiler-in-chief.

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is all hat and no cattle.

Still Numb

It’s been awhile since I wrote about an American mass shooting. The reason is genuinely horrible: they’ve become so commonplace that we’re *almost* getting used to them. That’s an appalling place to find ourselves in, but that’s how things stand in the summer of 2019.

The El Paso shooting is particularly horrific: the shooter went to that Walmart because so many people cross the border to shop there. It’s what happens when Mexicans are demonized by a sitting president* for his short-term political advantage. As always, the GOP is offering thoughts and prayers without informing the public what will happen when they stop thinking and praying. We all know the answer to that: nada, bupkis, nothing.

It’s not just the ascendancy of white nationalism that’s causing this. It enjoyed a comeback in after Bill Clinton’s election victory in 1992 as well: Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was a white nationalist. The difference is that 1994 saw the last piece of major gun control legislation passed: the assault weapons ban, which was allowed the expire during the Beavis-Duce administration,

We keep hoping that there will be an inflection point in the ongoing gun violence crisis. This could be the beginning of one: the NRA is imploding because of internal strife and drama. It’s unclear if they will have the resources to be a major player in the 2020 election cycle.

It’s time for another full-court press to restore the assault weapons ban. It won’t pass Moscow Mitch’s Senate but it could prove to be a powerful issue in 2020.

The right is fond of talking about American exceptionalism. Is this what they have in mind?

As long as there are military-style assault weapons in the hands of civilians, I’ll keep writing the Still Comfortably Numb series:

2015: Still Confortably Numb.

2016: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited.

2017: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited.

2019: Post Mayhem Rituals.

I’m not sure how I missed 2018. I must have been numb. I still am.

Update: I did write a mass shooting post in 2018. It was one of my better efforts: Kristallnacht In Broad Daylight.

Quote Of The Day: Baltimore Sun Edition

Donald Trump is trying to transform Charm City into Verminville. The Baltimore Sun isn’t having it. They wrote a scathing editorial, Better To Have A Few Rats Than To Be One:

Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an editorial excerpt the QOTD but there’s a first time for everything. We’ve never had an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head as president* before either.

This latest racist incident has really gotten to me. I have fond memories of the time I’ve spent in Baltimore. I have friends there and friends who are from there. It’s a great American city with a proud history and a thriving local culture. Mmm, crabcakes, hon.

Baltimore is the city of H.L. Mencken, Thurgood Marshall, Babe Ruth, Cab Calloway, Cal Ripken, Anne Tyler, Brooks Robinson, Donna Edwards, Barry Levinson, Johnny Unitas, Duff Goldman, David Simon, John Waters, W.E.B. DuBois, Boog Powell, Chick Webb, Barbara Mikulski, and Billie Holiday to name but a few.

It’s also Speaker Pelosi’s hometown and is ably represented by Elijah Cummings, not Alan Cumming although he’s pretty damn cool in his own right.

On the darker side, I nicknamed the president’s* son-in-law Slumlord Jared because of his literally vermin-infested properties in Mr. Cummings’ district. Fuck you, Jared and Donald.

Speaking of rats, Republicans are scrambling to defend the latest indefensible comments from their dear leader. Proving once again that he’s a journalist, not a FOX news hack, Chris Wallace nailed Mick Mulvaney to the wall about Trump’s racist and charmless attack on Charm City:

It’s time to follow-up on Athenae’s post yesterday with a personal note. My neighborhood was majority black when we moved here in 2000. It had some sketchy areas but I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. In fact, I frequently lament the changes in the hood since Katrina and the Federal Flood. I find myself saying, “Where did all the unfriendly white people come from?”

Many of our African-American neighbors have been priced out  by gentrifiers and house-flippers. It’s a pity. I miss our more diverse pre-K neighborhood. Does that make me pro-vermin? According to the Insult Comedian it does.

The language used by Trump and his allies is despicable. The word “infested” was used by Nazis and Stalinists to justify their attacks on “unwanted” populations. I believe in judging political movements by the company they keep. That’s some bad company, y’all.

The last word goes to the Jayhawks who aren’t from Baltimore but recorded this song in 1989:

No Human Being

Well, it’s what they all think:

His voters, I mean. Even the nice ones. ESPECIALLY the nice ones. The ones that live in the suburbs because their parents’ neighborhoods were “ruined” by an “invasion.” Who aren’t racist, are perfectly nice to the black barista or their Mexican landscaper. Who just moved here for the schools.

They don’t think anyone lives in the places their parents left.

Not anyone with a job, or kids. Or a freaking dog. A mortgage, even on a house that isn’t fancy, even on a street that isn’t clean. A church, a school. A goddamn right to walk down the street and get a beer from the corner store.

They talk about the city — parts of it — like aliens live there and there are lots of reasons for that, nonstop reruns of Law and Order and the nightmares their grandparents passed on to them being right up there, but mostly it’s the inability to think of people of color as, you know, PEOPLE at all.

I used to work in some of Chicago’s “worst” neighborhoods. The places that give the suburbs vapors, I’d be driving around at all hours of day and night, and you know how many times I got mugged and murdered? Exactly zero. What did happen is I got invited to birthday parties. Told I needed to try this or that restaurant because the best sausage in town was made there. Helped out when my car wouldn’t start or got stuck in a snowbank.

I listened to conversations in barbershops and beauty parlors, conversations that yes, sometimes were about violence or neglect, but more often than not were about birthdays and obligations, who was bringing what to the church potluck, whose dog ran away. Who was getting married, who was cheating.

You know. People stuff.

So when the fraidy cats who live in our segregated world talk about “no-go” zones and places they don’t feel safe, when they say they wouldn’t even VISIT somewhere because they don’t think it’s okay, I wonder what on God’s green earth makes them think it’s okay for other people to live there.

And it’s really that they don’t think those people are human beings.

That’s what Donald Trump’s voters think, deep down. Underneath the euphemisms and the “property tax” stuff and the entirely avoidable ignorance and the very nice lady manners that keep them from ever saying the N-word because that would Doing Racism. They just don’t think people who don’t look like them are quite real.

It’s why they can justify the concentration camps and it’s why they can cheer the pointless foreign wars and it’s why they don’t give a shit if women in hijabs don’t feel safe going to the grocery store and it’s why they can shrug off every time he grabs someone by the pussy. People who aren’t them aren’t real.

Not human beings.

A.

Trumper Incitement Speech

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any uglier, the Insult Comedian doubled down on his egregious bigotry. He briefly stepped back from the brink after Republican blowback over his remarks about “The Squad,” but he cannot help himself and was soon back to inciting the red-hatted hordes. It’s just the latest offensive language offensive by the party of Trump.

Trump’s latest racist comments led me to me ponder two legendary Supreme Court cases. In the first case, Schenck v. United State, Oliver Wendell Holmes (surely the best name in SCOTUS history) enunciated the “clear and present danger test.” 50 years later the Supremes limited that test in the case of a Klansman named Clarence Brandenburg, not to be confused with Clarence the goofball angel in It’s A Wonderful Life. In Brandenbeurg v. Ohio case, the Court held:

… that speech advocating illegal conduct is protected under the First Amendment unless the speech is likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

When it comes to the First Amendment, I’m down with the late Justice Hugo Black who was a free speech absolutist. BUT just because incitement speech can be legal does not make it socially or politically acceptable. We cannot ban it unless it directly provokes violence BUT we can attack it at its source: the Trump regime and the GOP.

We’re seeing the effects of the Current Occupant’s vicious and racist attacks spring to life among his supporters. Rhetorical bombs are being tossed across the country.

Across the Big Muddy from Adrastos World HQ, a veteran Gretna police officer showed classic internet courage by first posting, then removing a Facebook thingamabob about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez:

The Times-Picayune reported this weekend that police officer Charlie Rispoli had posted a threatening message about Ocasio-Cortez, who used to work as a bartender, on his Facebook page.

“This vile idiot needs a round…and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli wrote in a caption above a fake article headlined with “Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much’”

The cop seemed livid about the article, even though the site Taters Gonna Tate describes itself as a “satire” website and Ocasio-Cortez has never said that soldiers get paid “too much.”

A Trumper falling for a “fake news” article? Imagine that. Of course, anyone who has fallen for the Insult Comedian’s shtick is a fool and/or a poltroon.

Meanwhile, this happened in the Land of Lincoln:

Internet courage was also displayed by this group: they removed this offensive image as well as its even more offensive caption, “Political jihad is their game. If you don’t agree with their socialist ideology, you’re racist.”

That is, of course, Geoffrey Hughes’ character, Onslow, from Keeping Up Appearances, not one of the Illinois GOP honchos. But now that I think of it, all you have to do is add a Bears or Cubs hat and Bob’s your uncle. Your uncle, not mine.

They justified the racist image with this gobble-de-gook:

State Republican Chairman Tim Schneider responded to what he called the “bigoted rhetoric” in a statement, according to the Tribune.

“My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswoman has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion,” he said. “I urge everyone who opposes them to keep the rhetoric focused on policy and ideology.”

Instead of gobble-de-gook, one might call this an Illini lie. Schneider is a German-sounding name, perhaps he should go back to Germany. Of course, German law takes a dim view of incitement speech for obvious reasons. Been there, done that.

The current political environment is ugly and getting uglier by the nano-second. Trump and his supporters will stop at nothing to keep him in office. I am genuinely concerned that this will result in even more politically inspired violence than we’ve already seen.

Like Pontius Pilate, Trump will wash his hands of any responsibility the next time someone gets hurt, especially if it’s one of The Squad. I have no sympathy for that devil, y’all.

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Trump and his followers are stirring the pot with their incitement speech. At the risk of sounding like an entry in the dictionary of political cliches, they will eventually reap the whirlwind and pay for their actions in the fall of 2020. But it will take hard work and persistence. And Boris Badenov and ilk may help Team Trump just as they did in 2016:

Repeat after me: Republicans lost the popular vote in the mid-terms by 9 points. Their only hope for victory is to depress Democratic turnout by hook or crook and pray for protection from the electoral college.  Never forget: massive turnout by the people Trump is trying to otherize is the cure to what ails the country.

Since bomb throwing is the metaphor of the day, the last word goes to 10cc:

UPDATE: The Gretna, Louisiana cop mentioned above was fired.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Moon Rocks

This Image Should Have Been On The Cover Of Life Magazine by Alan Bean.

History was made 50 years ago today when Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. It was controversial among some at the time for being a waste of money and has become the subject of wackadoo conspiracy theories. I watched the moon landing unfold and I thought it was magnificent; even better than Star Trek or 2001. The truth is not only stranger than fiction, it can be much better. I still think the heyday of the space program is way cool or perhaps even wicked awesome.

This week’s featured image is a painting by the late Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean. It’s based on a picture taken by Buzz Aldrin of Neil Armstrong; hence the epic title. I thought it was high time to give it, uh, new Life.

There are a wide variety of moon songs to choose from. For this week’s theme song, I went with one that’s lunar landing specific. Moon Rocks was written by David Bryne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth for Talking Heads monster hit 1983 album, Speaking In Tongues.

Now that we’ve done a bit of space walking, let’s cut the tether and float to the break.

Continue reading

Donald Trump Is A Racist

I realize that I’m both preaching to the choir and stating the obvious with this post title. I think it’s important to be direct when writing about the depths of the Insult Comedian’s bigotry and the damage it has done to the country.

Vox’s German Lopez has assembled an impressive timeline of Trumpian public racism that stretches back to 1973. It’s an ugly but must-read piece. Anyone with a lick of sense has known from the beginning that Donald Trump is not only a criminal, he’s a racist.

What else was birtherism but a demand that Barack Obama show his “papers” to prove his citizenship? It didn’t need to be true or even partially true to have a malicious effect on the body politic. Hell, Trump wasn’t even the original birther but he was the most persistent.

I realize that Trump’s “go back” attack on the Squad was an attempt to divert attention from all the Trump scandals. It was imperative, however, to call him on his egregious racism. I wish he would “go back” to Trump Tower and leave the rest of us alone.

There were only 4 Republican House members plus Justin Amash who voted for the resolution condemning Trump’s latest racist tweet. I was surprised that there were any so this kinda, sorta counts as progress.

The GOP response was typified by Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and Kevin McCarthy all of whom claimed Trump is not a racist and that they were nice to then President Obama. It’s all so typical and tiresome. Give it a rest, y’all. You own this guy and his overt racism.

The worst effect of having a racist, white nationalist president* is that it’s now socially acceptable in some quarters to make overtly racist comments in broad daylight. They’re following the president’s* bad example. I wish they would crawl back under the rock they oozed out from under BUT at least we know where we stand. The dog whistle has been replaced with a bullhorn.

Team Trump’s 2020 strategy has been obvious for months: defame, slander, and lie about their opponents to depress Democratic turnout. It’s their only hope of winning since they’ve been shrinking their base since the infamous “American carnage” inaugural rant. The good news is that Trump’s racist, xenophobic mid-term campaign did not work. The bad news is that we’re stuck with this asshole until January, 2021.

One good effect of Trump’s face-off with the Squad is that the MSM is starting to call a racist a racist. Trump’s reaction has been typically overstated:

That’s the Insult Comedian’s version of “some of my best friends are black.” Given his record of sexual assault, there may be one bone in his body that isn’t racist, if you catch my drift.

I may be preaching to the choir but repeat after me: Donald Trump is a racist.

The last word goes to Rodney Crowell:

Tweet Of The Day: John Kerry Edition

Before entering electoral politics, Ayanna Pressley was a senior aide to then Senator John Kerry. Big John rose to Pressley’s defense after the president* told her and three of her colleagues to “go back” to their shithole districts. I’m the one who said shithole this time, but he’s said it before and will say it again. Believe me.

The MSM called Trump’s original tweet, “racially charged.” Those of us in the reality based community called it racist. It was a successful attempt to distract attention from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. It’s the only thing the Insult Comedian does well.

A quick note to my fellow Democrats; STFU and stop attacking one another. We’re the big tent party and we need a coalition to win elections. Moderates and Lefties need one another to take on the real enemy: THE PARTY OF TRUMP.

Minimum Standards

This is all they asked:

Basically, the job offer was like, “You can put babies in cages and enforce unenforceable bullshit and be as big of a racist shitbag as you want to be, thanks to the current administration, but for the love of fuck do not post your racist shitbaggery on a public form with your name and references to your FEDERAL AGENCY attached.”

That’s a VERY low bar, honestly. Even considering the types of racists the job would either attract or nurture, “please do not broadcast your inner sturmfuhrer to all and sundry on Al Gore’s internet” is a basic requirement for public service to have.

I am sure that in the coming days we will hear about how hard this job is and how these brave “first responders” just had to blow off some steam by photoshopping members of Congress blowing Donald Trump, that they were having wacky fun, and that if YOU, a low-T soyboy liberal, had to cage babies you too would need to make jokes at those babies’ expenses in order to live with the stress.

So let’s be clear: I am not shocked or offended by the racism. It is their whole entire job to be racist, why even bother doing it if you don’t believe dangerous slavering hordes of people are coming to kill us all in our beds and take our God-given white welfare? I am not in any way surprised that they are racist, misogynistic assholes.

I am contemptuous of the utter stupidity, and astonished that at a time when our bar could not be lower, CBP officers still found a way to slither underneath.

A.

The Fog Of Scandal: Perpetual Crisis Care

The 24-7 news cycle has been frantic for quite some time but in the Trump era it’s like a hyperactive child in need of medication. The child in question is, of course, the Insult Comedian.

After losing to Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon wrote a pretty good, albeit self-serving, book called Six Crises. The Current Occupant has more like Sixty Crises some of which are so repetitive that the people and the media are becoming numb to them. It’s the presidency, in E’s memorable phrase, as Novocaine For The Soul.

This political numbness must be resisted at all costs: it’s okay not to be SURPRISED by presidential* antics but we should be SHOCKED by all the crazy the Trump regime throws our way. We conclude this opening sermonette with a musical interlude: a Fall Out Boy song whose protagonist sounds eerily like Trumpberius.

This is a black, black ski mask song
So put all of your anger on
In the truly gruesome do we trust
I will always land on you like a sucker punch
Singing I am your worst, I am your worst nightmare
I am your worst, I am your worst nightmare

Indeed you are, Donald, indeed you are.

Two of the major crises du jour are the internment camps on the border, especially the one at Clint, Texas, and the slagging match with Iran that could result in another stupid war in the Middle East. Trump relies on his gut when it comes to foreign policy, and *my* gut tells me that he’s bluffing in his face-off with Iran. BUT the chance for miscalculation is great when his senior advisers, Bolton and Pompeo, are salivating over the prospect of regime change in Iran. We’ve seen that movie before. It didn’t play well in Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran is a more formidable foe than the decadent dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Stay tuned.

As to the migrant concentration camps, only a hardcore, heartless racist could fail to be moved by accounts of children living in their own filth without soap or toothbrushes. Since my eyesight and hearing are crappy, I have an acute sense of smell and the stench coming from children who have no soap with which to bathe is a notion that haunts me.  It’s slow motion torture, which is a stain on our national honor. It’s a rotten lead up to Independence Day.

There’s been a lively discussion in the corners of social media that I frequent about what issue we should focus on. We need to multi-task because the Trump regime will always trump up something to distract us. Diversion is the only thing they do well. Remember the Maddow Doctrine:

There’s one Trump crisis that the MSM is particularly numb to: We have a president* who is a serial sexual assaulter who sees women as prey, not people. The Gray Lady primly did not publish a story about E. Jean Carroll’s credible rape allegations for days after they broke. The depressing consensus among the Cult of the Savvy and GOP bigwigs seems to be that the voters knew about Trump’s rapey ways and elected him anyway. The NYT has admitted error and Trump has, predictably, said she was not hot enough for him to lust after. In a word: gross. Donald Trump is a pussy, he should grab himself.

If you haven’t read Dahlia Lithwick’s brilliant piece about the Carroll allegations, make sure you do. Dahlia points out that Carroll did it on her own terms in a way that none of Trump’s manifold manhandled accusers have done:

I understand why so many people think the media’s failure here is the result of boredom. One reality of the Trump era is how profoundly boring it is—we watch the same dramas unfold, again and again; we debunk the same lies, again and again; and we issue the same warnings, again and again. But I don’t think that what happened here is the result of boredom so much as an almost perfect journalistic incapacity for telling any story it hasn’t told a thousand times before. Maybe we’re not bored. Maybe we’re just boring.

Because E. Jean Carroll flipped the script. Having watched, and watched, and watched the #MeToo stories play out over the past several years, she decided she wasn’t going to do it as it had been done. She was going to tell her own story on her own terms, publishing it in her own book. Because, as she wrote in the excerpt published in New York magazine last Friday:

“Why haven’t I “come forward” before now?

Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun. Also, I am a coward.”

She’s the opposite of a coward. E. Jean Carroll is my new hero. It takes guts to deal with a traumatic episode with wit and humor; two qualities her rapist notably lacks. All he knows how to do is attack, belittle, degrade, and divert attention from his crimes.

The last word goes to Eels:

Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

I’ve stopped reading the president’s* twitter feed on a regular basis. It’s full of bluster, bigotry, braggadocio, and bullshit. Every once in a while the Insult Comedian changes “policy” by tweet. He enjoys seeing the country jump when he says something outrageous. It’s how this sick fuck gets his kicks. I wish he’d stick to Route 66.

Trump also uses his twitter feed to try and blackmail his opponents into submission but there’s usually a tell. That was the case with the so-called “ICE round-up of millions.” It was all about the announcement, not the round-up. When any law enforcement agency conducts a raid, it’s a tightly kept secret so as not to give the subjects time to flee or destroy evidence. Trump’s tweet was the tell that he was lying. He also gets a sadistic kick out of upsetting his enemies. Repeat after me: cruelty is the Trump regime’s only immigration policy. The rest is a sick charade.

I’m gobsmacked that anyone takes anything this president* says at face value but they still do. Another recent example is the lie told after he “called off” a bomb strike against Iran. He claimed that he hadn’t gotten a casualty count before the planes were in the air. In fact, it’s SOP for the military to include that information upon briefing any president including those without an asterisk. It’s all about the drama, it has nothing to with the real world.

I realize it’s frustrating to deal with this sort of fantasist but it’s our current reality. That’s why I’d demand verification even if the Insult Comedian were to say: “I’m a fat guy with bad hair and a fake tan.” Of course, he’d say none of those things but it’s a sign of his extreme mendacity that I wouldn’t believe him if he did.

I am a firm believer in what I call the Maddow Doctrine: Watch what they do, not what they say.  Words are cheap and in this case there’s usually some sort of bluff involved; if we pretend otherwise, he’ll steal everything that isn’t nailed down including our souls. There are no silver bullets to slay this particular monster except for one: the 2020 general election.

The last word goes to Michael F with this image from an April post, He’s Bluffing:

Image by Michael F.

Who’s Selling Hate to These People?

This story is full of more assholes than a bag of assholes but the biggest assholes in it aren’t named: 

Across the state, this network includes conservative radio hosts, think tanks and digital media that focus on anti-refugee news in Minnesota, as well as small community groups like C-Cubed, which repeatedly invite anti-Muslim speakers to town, leading to clashes and protests. Formed in 2017 to support more nativist candidates on the City Council, C-Cubed is a small group of only about a dozen members, but its existence has already changed the city’s political landscape.

C-Cubed supported four candidates for City Council last year, and two won seats, although Mr. Palmer himself lost. Members say they are raising questions about the state’s refugee program in order to determine its total cost. But in interviews, many repeatedly outlined more fundamental fears, including the belief that an influx of people who were nonwhite and non-Christian posed a cultural threat.

Several of the group’s members and their allies said their stand against immigration was a small part of a broader national conflict, in which the rising tide of a multicultural, multiracial Democratic Party must be opposed.

Who runs the sites and funds the radio stations and tells people to specifically compare abortion to the Holocaust? These people all say the same things and nobody asks where they heard it?

We are running story after story after story about Trump voters holding them up to be shamed, and yes, they should be shamed. These people make my fucking skin crawl. Imagine spending your life curled up around that kind of hatred. Like these are your days, reading angry websites and hosting meetings to be mad at refugees, this is what you’re doing with your time? These people should be shamed for buying this crap.

But the GOP should be shamed more, for selling it. In the most charitable interpretation of the sort of Republican Party Joe Biden wishes still existed, the GOP has benefitted immensely from racism in every form for the past 50 years. Even when they weren’t screaming it from the pulpit, racism was getting them elected. And at any time they could have said you know, this isn’t what we need to do right now. They didn’t, and they drove out the ones that tried.

So while we all cluck over the individuals in this story — they’re awful, and they’ll be judged for it in this world or the next — we need to keep in mind the structure that nourished and supported them, that confirmed their suspicions and validated their fears, and profited from them. They’re not victims, but they’re not the ultimate victors either.

A.